10 Best Fennel Recipes

Fennel is one of those ingredients that seems fancy, but it's actually easy to use with a variety of techniques in an array of recipes that take minimal effort. The vegetable comes from the same family as carrots, yet it tastes quite different with an anise-like flavor similar to licorice. The fronds at the top are typically used as an herb, and its crunchy stalks in the middle work great when chopped up for salads and sautes. The bulb, though, is the most commonly used section for a variety of dishes.

Maybe you're intrigued by the odd looking vegetable but have no idea how to cut it the right way, much less cook and eat it. Or maybe because of its three distinct parts — each with varying levels of licorice flavor, vegetal notes, and crunchiness — you might be left wondering what to do with the fronds after using the sliced stalks in a salad. There's no reason to fret because Tasting Table has an array of original recipes that will help you learn, including some that let fennel shine as the main ingredient and others that use it to accompany fish or other salad ingredients.

Lemon-Roasted Fennel

Our first recipe comes in the form of lemon-roasted fennel that works as a side dish. For this take from recipe developer Jennine Rye, you'll use four fennel bulbs with the stems and fronds removed (save those for later). It only takes a little olive oil, white wine, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to bring out the fennel's flavor. As everything roasts in the oven, the edges will caramelize and crisp while the inside remains tender. Finish it off with black olives, garlic, and fresh basil. It'll be on the table in just about 40 minutes.

Recipe: Lemon-Roasted Fennel

Salt Baked Fish with Fingerlings and Fennel

Salt-baking a whole fish might sound intimidating, and while it does take some effort, it's manageable with our recipe. Use any white fish that you prefer, such as bass, snapper, trout, or branzino — and don't forget to remove its scales, guts, and gills. The fennel, which you'll use from frond to bulb, turns the salt-baked fish into a complete meal with fingerling potatoes. It takes about an hour to make this restaurant-worthy meal, but it only serves two so you might want to double it to feed a family.

Recipe: Salt Baked Fish with Fingerlings and Fennel

Fennel Salad with Bread Crumbs, Walnuts, and Anchovy Vinaigrette

Raw fennel is best served in a salad, as is the case with this flavorful recipe. You'll use the bulbs and stalks for this salad, which will add a nice layer of crunch to the bowl. As for the rest of the ingredients, it'll join homemade bread crumbs, walnuts for nutty crunch, and parmesan cheese. To finish it off, make an anchovy vinaigrette to dress the salad with vinegar and lemon juice for acidity. And don't hesitate to add some of the fronds for an herby and decorative finish.

Recipe: Fennel Salad with Bread Crumbs, Walnuts, and Anchovy Vinaigrette

Herbs de Provence

If you rely on store-bought herbs de Provence to season roasted potatoes or meats, then it's time to make a homemade blend. For this seasoning blend, you'll use fennel seeds rather than the fresh vegetable we've discussed. A little goes a long way, so you'll only need 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds along with dried herbs such as rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and tarragon. Miriam Hahn, the creator of this recipe, says you can store it for up to six months. Use the French-inspired seasoning blend on grilled fish, lamb, roast chicken, and any other dish that needs an herby boost.

Recipe: Herbs de Provence

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Fennel-Citrus Salad

Delicious and tender pork tenderloin is easy to pull off and turns into a complete meal with a fennel-citrus salad. The pork will also have a citrus essence from fresh grapefruit juice that mixes with brown sugar, olive oil, and a handful of seasonings. The fennel comes into play with a crunchy and refreshing salad that uses the bulbs and fronds with pistachios, blood orange, and more grapefruit. This recipe requires 40 minutes, only 15 of which are hands on prep, so you can easily get it on the table for a rather effortless weeknight dinner.

Recipe: Roast Pork Tenderloin with Fennel-Citrus Salad

Apple, Radish, and Fennel Salad with Hazelnuts and Mint

To make this apple, radish, and fennel salad, pull out your mandolin so you have evenly-sliced ingredients in each bite. One small fennel bulb is enough, along with two Golden Delicious or Mutzu apples, and two small watermelon radishes. All of those crunchy veggies are flavor-packed so you'll only need a handful of other ingredients in the bowl like hazelnuts and fresh mint. This one takes 20 minutes to put together, longer than it will take for you and your dinner guests to take a last bite.

Recipe: Apple, Radish, and Fennel Salad with Hazelnuts and Mint

Sheet Pan Snapper with Potatoes and Fennel

Dive into a Mediterranean-inspired flavor fest with this sheet pan snapper with potatoes and fennel. The meal takes a total of 40 minutes to prepare, making it quick to serve for a fulfilling dinner. You'll only need two large fennel bulbs (plus the fronds for a garnish), and there's plenty more flavor with ingredients like capers, olives, orange zest, and garlic. The ingredient list says to use new potatoes, but you can also cut large potatoes into smaller pieces. Finish off with the fennel fronds and tarragon.

Recipe: Sheet Pan Snapper with Potatoes and Fennel

Classic French Bouillabaisse

You might have ordered a classic French bouillabaisse at your favorite French bistro or during your travels in France, but you can also make it at home. This rendition, from recipe developer Michelle McGlinn, uses fennel stalks to add flavor to the fish broth base. You'll slice the bulb and use it later in the recipe to complete the bouillabaisse, along with a few other unique ingredients like saffron, leeks, and Pernod (a French anise liqueur). It will take nearly two hours to cook — but it's certainly worth the wait.

Recipe: Classic French Bouillabaisse

Braised Fennel

Sometimes a simple recipe is the best option, especially when the main ingredient is braised fennel. To make four servings, use two large fennel bulbs cut into quarters. We told you it was a simple recipe, and we mean it because you only need olive oil, salt, black pepper, and vegetable stock to pull the rest of it off. Braise the bulbs in the pan for about 20 minutes, season to taste, and serve warm alongside your go-to protein and starch to make a complete meal.

Recipe: Braised Fennel

Orange Marmalade Salmon with Roasted Fennel

In case you haven't guessed it yet, fennel pairs quite nicely with a variety of fish. It doesn't have to be a white fish like in the other recipes in this roundup, as you'll see with this orange marmalade salmon from recipe developer Ksenia Prints. The dish has a bright citrus flare thanks to two fresh oranges and orange marmalade, as well as a touch of umami from soy sauce. The salmon and fennel roasts together in the same pan for just 15 minutes.

Recipe: Orange Marmalade Salmon with Roasted Fennel